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COMMONWEALTH v. TARABILDA (09/15/72)

decided: September 15, 1972.

COMMONWEALTH
v.
TARABILDA, APPELLANT



Appeal from judgment of sentence of Court of Common Pleas, Trial Division, of Philadelphia, July T., 1970, No. 1028, in case of Commonwealth of Pennsylvania v. William Tarabilda.

COUNSEL

Edmund E. DePaul, and DePaul & Manos, for appellant.

Taras M. Wochok and Milton M. Stein, Assistant District Attorneys, James D. Crawford, Deputy District Attorney, Richard A. Sprague, First Assistant District Attorney, and Arlen Specter, District Attorney, for Commonwealth, appellee.

Wright, P. J., Watkins, Jacobs, Hoffman, Spaulding, Cercone, and Packel, JJ. Opinion by Hoffman, J.

Author: Hoffman

[ 222 Pa. Super. Page 238]

This is an appeal from appellant's conviction for transferring a narcotic drug, a violation of The Drug, Device and Cosmetic Act, 35 P.S. ยง 780-1 et seq. Appellant contends that (1) The Drug Device and Cosmetic Act is an unconstitutional delegation of the legislative power of the General Assembly of the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania, (2) The Drug, Device and Cosmetic Act is unconstitutionally vague, and (3) the evidentiary chain of custody of the methadone allegedly transferred by appellant was not proven.

I

Appellant first argues that The Drug, Device and Cosmetic Act contains an unconstitutional delegation of legislative power. This contention cannot be sustained.

[ 222 Pa. Super. Page 239]

The law with respect to unconstitutional delegation has been stated in Locke's Appeal, 72 Pa. 491 (1873): "The legislature cannot delegate its power to make a law; but it can make a law to delegate a power to determine some fact or state of things upon which the law makes, or intends to make, its own action depend. To deny this would be to stop the wheels of government. There are many things upon which wise and useful legislation must depend, which cannot be known to the law-making power, and must, therefore, be a subject of inquiry and determination outside of the halls of legislation."

Where the legislature has delegated fact-finding power to administrative officers, boards, and commissions, that power will be valid only if limited by sufficiently ascertainable and definite standards, policies, and limitations to which such officers, boards, and commissions must strictly adhere. If the legislature fails to prescribe with reasonable clarity the limits of the power delegated, or if those limits are too broad, its attempt to delegate will be a nullity. Holgate Bros. Co. v. Bashore, 331 Pa. 255, 200 A. 672 (1938).

At the time of appellant's arrest and conviction, the term "narcotic drug" was defined in The Drug, Device and Cosmetic Act to be, among other things, "(5) any drug or other substance found by the United States Secretary of the Treasury or his delegate, and proclaimed by him or his delegate after due notice and opportunity for public hearing, to have an ...


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